Business Analysis Methods, Tips and Techniques
One of the most important responsibilities of the Business Analyst is to understand the data that is needed by the organization to function. Each time an organization interacts with a supplier or customer, information is captured by the business. This information can be used for operational, tactical and strategic purposes.
Data is a valuable business asset that can be sliced and diced in different ways to generate business intelligence. This information is useful to identify problems (e.g. supply chain issues, distribution bottlenecks) and opportunities (understanding buying patters, reducing inventories).
Many organizations have serious problems with data quality, availability, consistency, currency and accessibility. These problems are often caused when data is fragmented across multiple systems or is just poorly managed.
The primary method used by the business analyst to understand an organization's data is to build a conceptual data model. The data model illustrates the things of interest to the business (i.e. data entities) and important facts (i.e. attributes) about each of those things. It also depicts relationships between the things of interest.
Although a fully detailed data model can sometimes look like the wiring diagram for the space shuttle, abstractions of the data model can be produced that are much less detailed and much more "user friendly".